Sunday, 14 August 2011

Olympus Pen E-P3 - my new toy

Last Thursday I went to an Olympus launch night at Foto Riesel primarily to play with the Olympus E-P3 and E-PL3 plus the new 12mm f/2 and 45mm f/1.8 lenses. The folding LCD of the E-PL3 interested me as I do a lot of tripod work and have always found this type of arrangement ideal for macro work and over-head shots in crowded areas.

After playing with both cameras, I came away mighty impressed with the E-P3 which has addressed most of the issues I had with the original E-P1, namely the difficult manual focus, lack of a dedicated zoom LCD button and AF button (although the latter can be configured to one of the others). The AF speed is also greatly enhanced and the addition of a low-light AF assist works wonders. The repositioning of the on/off switch is much improved but would have been better as a rotating ring around the shutter button common on many cameras.

I was so impressed that I bought the E-P3 and the kit zoom on the night. The following photos was taken with the E-P3 and my Voigtlander 25mm f/0.95 lens and was taken pre-dawn in reasonably foggy conditions. It was a "warm" 1 degrees that morning.

I did struggle a little with the processing having to use Olympus Viewer 2 to do the RAW conversion and I know I will be able to get a better result when Adobe comes good with support in Adobe Camera RAW. Cannot wait.

I have to say that what was once a slightly difficult lens to get focused is now brilliant. The extra resolution of the LCD combined with its great brightness and dedicated LCD zoom - well just sweet. It is nice to be able to see an image on an LCD with next to no light.

Now I did mention the E-PL3 - I went away unimpressed by that camera. I found the menus less useful and missed the extra direct controls. Yes, I would have loved a fold out LCD but the E-P3 does a better job of the compromise and feels a much nicer camera to hold. I think the E-PL3 would be fine if you do mostly auto shooting but I do mostly manual shooting.

About the only area where the E-P3 takes a tiny step backward is with ISO. The high ISO and low light ISO performance is definitely better but why did they drop ISO100. I use that for long exposure shots at dawn and also for studio portrait work under studio lights otherwise I have to stop down more than I want to. I guess I will be using 1 and 2 stop NDs more often.
As well as the cameras I played with the new Olympus lenses. Wow - the 12mm f/2 and its mechanical manual focus ring is superb as is the quality metal construction. It isn't available until the end of August in Australia but I have placed my order. It won't be cheap but I have paid more for lenses.

The 45mm f/1.8 is a fairly standard bit of kit and less than half the price of the 12mm. It seems good value for the money and I will probably get one eventually when I have a bit more portrait stuff to do but somehow I just didn't get excited about it.

In a nutshell, the E-P3 is a lovely camera and a great update on my E-P1. 

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

I almost always shoot!

A friend of mine, recently published a piece in his blog titled “To Shoot or Not to Shoot”. Now the person who posted the blog item is a good friend of mine and we have been on quite a number of seascape shoots over the last couple of years. His work was one of the major influences on me to get back into photography. The blog item concerns whether, when you get out to a location site, and the conditions are not what you expected, do you shoot or not. For my friend, the answer is “no”, not if the conditions are not to your liking.

My philosophy is quite different. I too want the perfect combination of light and weather etc, but I come from it at a different angle. My motivation is to make the best of the conditions that I possibly can and try and come up with something I like, as will others, in the conditions what ever they are. I will almost always shoot. There are very few occasions where I have not come up with something worthwhile. I cannot control nature but I can control what I make of it.

This is what I came up with in conditions that were deemed to be less than perfect.

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Magic Morning at Little Cove (south of Little Bay, Sydney)

I am quite happy with the result and my philosophy suits me well. I expect that there are others that will always be a better photographer than me, but I think I may enjoy my photography more.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Someone likes my photo

Recently someone asked me if they could include one of my photos on their jogging blog site. I agreed as I am not the most active person in the world and I was quite pleased with this opportunistic shot...

Sydney, Australia (Coastal Walk between Bo...: "Sydney, Australia (Coastal Walk between Bondi and Tamarama) Peter Buggy All rights reserved by Peter Buggy"